UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business has awarded doctorates to the first graduates of its Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program. The inaugural DBA recipients are highly accomplished business professionals—most of whom work for Charlotte-based organizations or as self-employed consultants. Due to the DBA’s flexible, executive format, students were able to maintain their work lives while participating in the program, significantly enhancing their careers and organizational value as they progressed toward completion.
“The Class of 2020 is graduating during a time of unprecedented business and financial uncertainty—in Charlotte, across the country and throughout the world,” said Jennifer Troyer, Ph.D., who recently was appointed dean of the Belk College of Business. “These new doctors of business administration are uniquely equipped as a result of the program’s rigorous curriculum, exacting research standards and collaborative framework to apply theoretical knowledge to very real business challenges, producing new knowledge in their fields of expertise.”
The three-year DBA program, which launched in 2017, is the first and only such program in the Carolinas to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), recognized internationally as a key indicator of quality for contributing to the future success of business. Designed for working professionals who hold MBAs, the program brings together cohort members one weekend every month for the program’s first two years at The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City, the University’s uptown location.
“The Belk College of Business has raised the bar for business academia across the Carolinas,” said DBA Program Director Reginald Silver, D.P.H. “The business leaders in this initial cohort, all of whom completed the program on time, elevated their individual credentials while reasserting the position of the Belk College of Business as a leading center of academic excellence and valuable business community partner.”
Defining the Class of 2020, made up of nine women and seven men who average nearly 20 years each of experience in business, finance, manufacturing, real estate, higher education, construction or the military, are its qualifications and accomplishments. While enrolled in the DBA program, 75% of them experienced significant career progression, with 44% accepting C-Suite positions. No fewer than five members will begin careers in higher education as business faculty members.
“Ideally, each cohort develops into a tight-knit, yet diverse team of self-sustaining thought leaders,” continued Silver. “The success of this first cohort lies in the members’ individual and collective internal drive and motivation; their interdisciplinary approach to solutions was innovative and inspiring.”
A key program component required by UNC Charlotte—but not all DBA programs--is intense research and analysis that culminates in a dissertation. In the program’s third and final year, each candidate constructs a hypothesis in his or her chosen field, designs and conducts primary research, analyzes the findings and defends fully before a dissertation committee.
“The Belk College of Business respects and recognizes each of these professional doctors as an expert in their area of research,” said Franz Kellermanns, Ph.D., the DBA program’s academic director. “The multidimensional complexities of a DBA set a slightly intimidating goal upon the outset, but having earned the leadership skills, plus the additional research perspective, each member of the cohort will contribute even more to the business community through substantial impact.”
The Class of 2020 Belk College of Business DBA graduates and their dissertation titles are:
Katrice Branner, clinical assistant professor, University of South Carolina at Columbia, “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises’ Customer Relationship Management Processes Impact on Firm Performance Moderated by Entrepreneurial Orientation”
Suzanne Collins, lead program manager, TIAA, and adjunct faculty, UNC Charlotte, “Social Dialogic Listening: Connecting Marketing Activity to Strategy”
Sherry Fowler, professor of practice, North Carolina State University Poole College of Management, “Use of Gang Member Social Media Postings to Detect Violent Crime”
Andrew Fraher, independent consultant, “Economic and Political Uncertainty and the Effects of Organizational Integration, Volume Flexibility, and Redundancy on Reliability and Delivery for Water Utilities”
John Gory, senior ROTC military science instructor, Golden Key Group LLC, “The Effects of Veteran Identity Strain, PTSD, and Social Support on Veterans' Job Satisfaction”
Lawrence Haynes, board, Illumination Foundation, “The Proposal's Forgotten Effect on Project Risk and Performance”
Barbara Knight, owner, Knight Property Management, “Green or Greenwashed? Organizational Strain as an Antecedent to Decoupling in Corporate Environmental Sustainability Reporting”
Sharon Lewis, principal and director, Booz Allen Hamilton, “Does Organizational Technology Acceptance Moderate Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions?”
Kellie McCorvey, structural planning and administration, Wells Fargo, “Do Ethics Matter? A Moderated Model For Effects of Ethical Climates on Unethical Behavior in Organizations”
D. Blaine Nashold Jr., director, enterprise transformation, Grant Thornton, “Trust in Consumer Adoption of Artificial Intelligence-Driven Virtual Finance Assistants: A Technology Acceptance Model Perspective”
Samantha Reeves, director of learning and development, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, “Employee Referrals: A Competitive Advantage or Operational Inefficiency?”
Lisa Rolan, adjunct faculty, UNC Charlotte and Pfeiffer University, “Commitment, Trust, Kinship – Building a Legacy Through Succession Planning”
Adriana Ruiz, strategic account manager, Sealed Air Corporation, “The Influence of Socialization, Family and Sex on Newcomer Outcomes in a Dirty Work Context”
Al Turovlin, managing director, TurovlinPartners Consulting, “Does Increased Information Technology Capability Increase the Business Value of Information Technology?”
Ben Wilhelm, executive vice president and COO, McFarland Construction U.S.; managing partner, Unscripted, LLC; adjunct faculty, McColl School of Business, Queens University of Charlotte, “I am an Owner Now, So What? The Influence of Employee Share Ownership on Organizational Citizenship and Entrepreneurial Orientation”
Brad Williams, director, risk analysis executive, Wholesale Risk Analytics, Bank of American Merrill Lynch, “The Role of Complexity Within Intelligent Decision Aids on User Reliance: An Extension of the Theory of Technology Dominance”
About DBA regalia
UNC Charlotte abides by the American Academic Costume Code, established in 1895 to standardize academic regalia. (Origins of academic dress trace to the 12th century.) Advanced degree hoods are distinguished by color, denoting the field of degree earned. Business fields are designated by the color “drab,” a word with origins in the European Middle Ages; the term originally referred to textiles and the trade of cloth but evolved to mean light brown. Due to current cultural conditions, hooding and commencement ceremonies for UNC Charlotte’s spring 2020 graduates have been postponed to a later date.